My daughter has started fifth grade at a Montessori school. Over the summer, the school sent a survey to parents asking if they would enroll their kids for another year if the school did not offer face-to-face instruction. Sixty five percent of families said they wouldn’t. The school was already facing financial problems. Not having a full roster of students enrolled would mean it would have to close down permanently.
Now, the school has reopened. They’ve taken some safety precautions, like keeping class sizes small, using outdoor spaces and improving the HVAC system. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what this school year will look like. We still don’t have a vaccine and until we do, there will always be a risk for infection.
Throughout the pandemic, President Trump has said he wants things to return to normal as quickly as possible. He wants football stadiums to be filled with fans. He wants to return to doing political rallies ahead of the election. He wants schools to reopen. And while I want my daughter to see her teachers and classmates, I struggle with the very real health consequences that come with that.
From the beginning, scientists and public health experts should have taken the lead in our national response to the pandemic. They were sidelined. I wonder how many families would have responded differently to the survey if the only voice they heard was from a public health expert, rather than President Trump’s?
One of the pledges Joe Biden made if elected is to ask Dr. Fauci to stay on and help with the government’s response. Following science is how we’ll get out of this crisis.